Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015

Again, with Sister Vanderhoff
"We made sock puppets for a yw/relief society activity. And... bamboo!"

I don't have too much time today because the library computers here kick us off after a little while.

But I'm doing really well, this area is great! Everyone still treats us like celebrities, it's really weird haha. Our ward mission leader tells us every few days how grateful he is for the revelation President Cusick received to send us here. And the assistant ward mission leader said it's like a breath of fresh air has blown through the ward. This elderly lady at church yesterday hugged me and started crying and said "I'm sorry for getting all emotional, but when I see an angel I just start crying!"  And just so I hopefully don't sound super arrogant, we deserve zero of this. Seriously. But I'm grateful that we got sent here too.

We've made a lot of people cry this week, I've lost track. Hopefully tears of joy... It makes me feel really bad sometimes haha. Especially when it's grown men. We said a prayer with this one family, and after I finished the less-active husband was crying and he said "Well, that was a first. Thank you so much." We still don't know what he meant, like if it was really the first time he ever felt the Spirit or what. But it was really neat.

And we have 2 investigators who are hopefully getting baptized soon! Their names are C. and G., they're twins. C. has been meeting with the missionaries for awhile, and he's super excited to get baptized. He actually spoke in sacrament meeting like a month ago, and he's not even a member yet. His sister has been a little harder though, she's been coming to young women's for awhile, but the ward and the missionaries couldn't get her to do much else. They said she was only interested in the fun part of church. But the other night we invited her to be baptized and she said yes! But they didn't come to church yesterday, so we had to push C's date back to the 14th, so they'll hopefully both get baptized on that day. It was really cute, they're only 13 and when G said she'd get baptized C was like "It's a really good church G, you should do it! That's why I'm joining it!" :)

We had a really neat conference with our whole mission with Elder Zwick of the Seventy and Brother Hemingway who is like the director of proselyting for the whole church. They talked about purifying our hearts and about our iPads and how they can be a very powerful tool for either good or evil, depending on how they use them. And we found out that they're giving them to more missions now, we're one of only like 38 missions that have them right now, and that we get brand new ones, which is good since Mom and Dad had to pay for them ;) Elder Zwick had every single missionary go up and shake their hands, it was cool. 

To all of you who sent me that giant Valentine's Day card, thank you, I loved it!! :) I saw one like that in the store the other day and I was like I would die if somebody gave me one of those ! How'd y'all know? :)

Sisters Coleman and Vanderhoff
This is her past companion, but she just got the photos.

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

So this week we had a bit of a surprise, we got transferred again! To a tiny little town called Lake Wales, in the middle of nowhere :) It's like closer to Orlando than Tampa, we're at the very edge of our mission. So yeah, that happened.
It was kind of scary, on Thursday we were weekly planning and we get a call from the AP's saying "President Cusick would like to meet with you at 2:30." We're like ahhh what did we do?? And then when we got there, he talked to us for at least 30 agonizing minutes before he told us that we were getting emergency transferred. Apparently there were some obedience issues with the elders here, so for some reason they decided to send us in. So within a few hours, we gave all the investigators we had found to other missionaries (we had found a surprisingly large amount in a week, so it was kind of hard to leave them) we packed up all our stuff (which we had just unpacked), and loaded it in a mini van, and drove down to Lake Wales! My mini van driving skills finally came in handy! We made it here at like 9 at night, and there were all these elders and our new bishop waiting there for us. We felt so bad.
But Lake Wales is great! It's a tiny ward, they don't even have a full building. But they are SO happy to have us here. Apparently there haven't been sisters in this ward in 26 years, so yeah, they're pretty happy. We're like celebrities or something. There have been tears because people are so happy, they've been hoping and praying and begging for sisters. They're all really sweet people.  It's pretty country here, so everyone's really happy that I'm from North Carolina. The highest point in Florida is in our area! Which is pretty weird, Florida is mostly way flat, but it's really hilly here. We live on the side of-what feels like-a mountain! Most of the ward is over 60, but I think there are a few families with kids haha. But they're really excited to have us here and to do missionary work, so hopefully we can help their little ward grow!
I don't even know what else to talk about, so much has happened. It's kind of crazy that in a week I went from having 1 area to 3. But things are going well, I'm really happy. It's truly incredible to be an answer to people's prayers. Putting it all in His hands has made me so much happier. I don't know why we have such a tendency to hold on so tight, like we know what we're doing or something :) We're so much happier and things work out so much better when we just let it go. Oh no, I feel a song coming on... Okay, I better go, have a great week! :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015

Transfer to Temple Terrace

So this has been up there in the craziest weeks of my life. But it's been awesome! So my new area is called Temple Terrace, and my new companion is Sister Rudd. It's like night and day difference from Tampa 4. It's a pretty big city, I guess it's kind of a suburb of Tampa? I don't know, Tampa is like endless, part of our area is still Tampa haha. But we're in a different stake. It's right by USF campus, it's kind of like a down-towny area (at least what I've seen of it so far, we've been just walking so we haven't made it too far). But there are people on the streets EVERYWHERE! Another missionary said this is like the Disneyworld of missionary work, and it kinda is. I mean it even says temple in the name, come on!

Sister Rudd and I opened this area, and apparently they didn't know we were coming until last minute. At transfer meeting, when President announced that we were together, he was like "So you're both getting transferred, so I bet you're anxious to know where you're going. You're staying right here in Temple Terrace, but I don't think we have a place for you to live." And they didn't. They had absolutely nothing ready for us, we kind of had to do everything on our own, but it hasn't been too bad. We're staying with some other sisters, and they're kicking the elders out of their apartment for us to have, we should be moving in tonight. We're on carshare with some other sisters and it was their week, so we've just been walking. But since there are people everywhere, it's been great. I think we already have more investigators than I've ever had at once on my mission, and 2 of them have baptismal dates! Sister Rudd said that someone told her that tender mercies come with whitewashing (or in our case opening) an area. And it's SO TRUE, Heavenly Father has been blessing us so much.

Sister Rudd is super awesome, like one of the best missionaries I've seen. I'm really honored to be her companion. She's been out like 13 months, but for some reason I'm the senior companion, which I'm not too happy about haha, but oh well. 

Sisters Coleman and Rudd

The ward seems really awesome. We haven't been able to meet a ton of them yet because on Sunday we had some investigators there, so we were more focused on that. But they're really happy to have sisters, it's just been elders for awhile. So right now there are 5 elders in that ward (3 of them are office, so they don't really proselyte) and then us. Our ward mission leader was like "If we get any more missionaries, it'll be the Temple Terrace Mission!" It's really different being around so many missionaries. Our building has the mission office in it, so there are tons of missionaries there all the time.

We did get to meet some of the members at a talent show on Friday. We sang I Hope They Call Me on a Mission with some of the primary kids, it was cute (hopefully). 

Okay, so onto the miracles. The first one was this lady we met on the street, her name is R. We met her right in front of the church and I asked if she went to a church and she said she hadn't in awhile. We invited her to take a tour of our church and she LOVED it, especially all the pictures of Christ. At the end we were in the chapel and she was like "I really need to go back to church." We invited her to be baptized and she said it was a big possibility, but she's been super hesitant about setting a date. So we'll see what happens there.

The second one is, we met these 2 teenage boys on the street, and they told us they had literally just prayed for a way they could change their lives, and then they met us. They were AWESOME. We talked to them for like at least half an hour, they had so many great questions. They have more faith than almost any other teenage boys I've ever seen. One of them said they would crawl to our church if they had to. And they actually came! No one ever comes! They loved it, and we had our first actual lesson with them after church. I invited them to be baptized and they both accepted, they're so excited about it. So as long as everything goes okay with their parents, they'll get baptized on the 28th! We're meeting their families tomorrow and we're kind of nervous... Missionary work is way too much like a relationship sometimes.

One of the funniest moments of the week: There was this huge puddle (it was more like a creek) and there was no way around it. Sister Rudd just kind of walked through it, but me, being oh so prideful, thought I could jump over it. I jumped, and landed right in the middle of it. And also may have twisted my ankle in the process, it hurt for a few days. But it's okay now, and I learned my lesson :)

I've been thinking so much about this area that I forgot about Tampa 4! Leaving it was really hard. I didn't think everyone would be so sad to see me go. I miss everyone a lot, and I don't know if we'll be able to develop the same kind of relationships with the people here, I hope so. But I definitely can't complain, there's so much more work to do here. This area has had the best missionaries in the mission in the past, so it's like an honor to serve here haha. Also, I'm kind of like why am I here? But once again, not gonna complain :)

Okay, this is turning out to be way too long, I'll stop now :) I'm doing well, the ward is awesome, I love it here, the church is true, missionary work is the best, the end. :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

I found out yesterday that I'm getting transferred! It's pretty bittersweet. I'm really going to miss everyone here, I love them a lot. Thankfully our bishop announced in sacrament meeting that I was leaving, so I didn't have to tell a lot of people, everyone already knew :) It was good that it wasn't too big of a surprise, since I've been in this area over 7 months. But people were still really sad, some of them kind of mad haha. Our ward mission leader's wife, who is this really sweet older lady, was like "I'm going to talk to your mission president about this! I'm sure he'll listen to me!" :) It's hard to say goodbye to everyone, and I'm sad to leave, but not quite as sad as I thought I would be. I feel like it's time for me to go, and I trust that God will send me where I need to be. 

Other than that, this week has been really good! 

Last night this couple insisted that we use their massage chair, it was pretty funny. He told us that we would reach Nirvana :) It was a really cool massage chair, but so rough! Sister Vanderhoff and I both have really sore shoulder blades now haha. And of course I was too short for it, so they all thought that was pretty humorous :)

Another funny moment this week, we were at these member's home (they're Puerto Rican) and they were talking about Guatemalans and the husband was like I think Guatemalans are Mexican! And the wife was like no!! They're Guatemalan!!! They were both pretty adamant about it, it was quite the heated argument. And this other lady who was there (she's this sweet southern lady, from North Carolina actually, and she can't hear very well, bless her heart) was like "What? Are you guys talking about guacamole?" Sister Vanderhoff and I couldn't help it, we died laughing. So yep, that happened. And everyone was dead serious about it.

We taught L. about fasting on Wednesday and a member told us that on Thursday they offered him something to eat and he was like "no thank you, I'm fasting" :) He's seriously so awesome, I'm bummed that I won't get to see him get baptized, but it will happen! :)

Oh, and awesome miracle that happened last p-day right after we emailed: We were grocery shopping at WalMart and this guy is like "Sisters!!!" and runs up and starts talking to us. We couldn't understand too well because he doesn't speak a lot of English- he's from Puerto Rico, like a large portion of the population in this area- but apparently he's a member who had done some bad things but wants to turn his life around. He had been praying to find the missionaries and he told his mom he knew it would happen, because he believed in miracles. He was so happy, he started bawling right there in the middle of WalMart. We were like uhh... what do we do? And he wants us to get his son baptized. Such a neat experience. He thought we didn't believe that he was a member or something, he like called his mom and had her tell us that he was Mormon, and he was like "I believe in Jesus and I believe in angels, you two are my angels!"

I won't find out where I'm going until the transfer meeting on Thursday, so I guess I'll let you know next week where I end up! Have a great week everybody! :)